Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

018: Gretchen Rubin: The Habits That Lead to Happiness [Podcast]

When asked what we want out of life, many of us respond with a simple answer: “I want to be happy.” But what we often don’t realize is what we need to actually transform our lives.

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Photo Credit: Lara Cores via Compfight cc

Have you ever taken a moment to clarify what being “happy” means to you? What if there were actionable steps that you could take to day to reach it? That’s the very question that sent Gretchen Rubin on her journey.

In this episode of The Portfolio Life, Gretchen and I talk about how she made the transition to full-time writing, the habits that kept her on track, and the projects that define her life.

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From happiness to habits

While clerking for Justice O’Conner at the Supreme Court, inspiration struck Gretchen Rubin. She became obsessed with an idea and spent nights and weekends researching and writing. Then, one day she realized something.

She wanted what she did for fun to be what she did for a living. The idea that she could be a writer without being a novelist or journalist had never occurred to her until that moment.

So she started taking steps in the direction of a new and exciting career. Years later, she is now a New York Times best-selling author and sought-after speaker. But it didn’t begin there.

It all began with just a few simple steps. One of the most interesting things about my interview with Gretchen was how she linked happiness to habits — daily actions we all can take to help us live a more meaningful life now.

At the end of our conversation, we talked about writing. And I asked her about something every writer has to deal with today: marketing. She pointed out something I completely agree with and that will speak volumes to anyone who’s struggling to share their art with the world:

Instead of thinking about brand, think about voice. –Gretchen Rubin [Tweet that]

For Gretchen, everything from writing to leading a happier life comes down to daily habits. As you listen to her story, I encourage you to consider what small steps you can take today that will lead to the kind of life you want to live.

Find out more

If this interview speaks to you, be sure to check out Gretchen’s work on her website, on Twitter, and Pinterest. You can also find her books including The Happiness Project and Happier at Home online or in your local bookstore.

Also, if you’re enjoying this podcast, please don’t be afraid to leave a review. That helps other people find the show. You can do that in iTunes or Stitcher.

I’ve also been out visiting:

  • Bryan Allain’s Schnozcast to talk about calling, cheese, dictionaries, wearing jeans, world domination, phone plans, making the leap, and other silliness.
  • The Riverstone Group podcast to discuss leading a virtual community, the role of writing in leadership, and the importance of managing tension rather than striving for balance.
  • Joe Saul-Sehy at FinCon to talk about reducing mental clutter to become a more powerful writer. And Pez dispensers, of course.

What’s one small step you can take today, one habit you can start, that will make you a happier person tomorrow? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I am the best-selling author of five books, including the national bestsellers The Art of Work and Real Artists Don't Starve. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on writing, publishing, and helping your creative work succeed.

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